You were just invited to your bosses’ McMansion for a dinner party. OR you’re meeting his parents for the first time. They are both lawyers. In The Hamptons. Don’t. Panic. There are ways to avoid screwing this up.
These events can be hella awkward if you’re not prepared. Here are a few ways to keep things from turning into one gigantic pregnant pause of awkward embarrassment:
1. Be Prepared To Talk. Intelligently. – The easiest way to make sure that dinner doesn’t turn into a series of awkward pauses is to go prepared knowing something about the host and/or hostess and other guests. Be a good listener. You’ll be able to ask intelligent questions about them or their life if you are familiar with what they do.
2. Read the news before you go. Being able to jump in and discuss controversial issues and current affairs never hurt anyone.
3. “Never go to a party empty handed” – My Mom has been telling me this one since a very young age. Always bring something. Whether it’s a beverage to share with everyone, a flower for the hostess or a rare bottle of olive oil, it doesn’t really matter what it is. They will see that you took the time and care to think ahead.
4. Use the tchotchkes – If you really don’t know the person, look for ways to connect using what’s around you. Ask them about things they have in their home, photos of their kids or pets, random caribbean cruise memorabilia, you get it. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Reaching out is better than awkwardly standing there waiting for someone else to start a conversation.
5. Offer To Help – You should always – sincerely – offer to help the host wherever is needed, whether it’s chopping veggies, serving other guests, clearing the table or doing dishes. *QUICK TANGENT* Personally I love when a man doesn’t offer to help, he just does. Without asking, he gets up and scrubs that nasty pot or he takes the garbage out before anyone even knows its full. There are few things sexier than a man doing things for others without being asked.
6. Leave five minutes before you think you should – Don’t wear out your welcome. Your hosts were kind enough to invite you into their home, now they probably want to go to bed.
7. Write a thank you note – It might seem like this is separate from the events of the dinner party but try thinking of it as your final act as party guest. Do your best to send it in the following day or two. Sending a note that talks about what a great time you had at their party a week or two after the fact doesn’t have nearly the same effect.
Did I forget something? Have any embarrassing stories of a dinner party gone bad? Let’s hear it!